Rosa Joshi wasn’t supposed to be an artist.
“I’m the daughter of Asian immigrants,” she says. “I was supposed to be a doctor.”
But a middle school encounter with the Shakespeare play “The Tempest” changed all that.
“I fell in love with the text,” Joshi says. “I’m really moved by the humanity in Shakespeare’s plays.”
Joshi and her family migrated from their native Nepal to Britain, then to Kuwait, where Joshi attended secondary school. Although she performed in school plays there, she never considered a theater career. A college directing class changed her mind.
Fast forward 30 years to Seattle, where Joshi landed after receiving her M.F.A. from Yale University’s prestigious drama school. She teaches at Seattle University and directs for theater companies around the city, including the all-female company she co-founded, upstart crow collective.
Joshi still adores Shakespeare, but she says if his plays are to remain vibrant and relevant, the casts have to mirror contemporary American society.
“Too often young people of color are told classical work is not for them,” Joshi says. “I hope I’ll always be able to introduce artists of color into that world, show them a way to make these plays their own.”
Rosa Joshi is part of a panel discussion about Shakespeare’s relevance in contemporary society, Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m.
She'll direct a staged reading on Shakespeare’s “Richard II” as part of a city-wide celebration of William Shakespeare on Saturday, March 24.